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  1. Film is an emotional medium; it’s not a logical medium. It’s not an intellectual medium, so every decision you make as a filmmaker and an actor has to be emotional in some way, even in the rejection of logic.
  2. I don’t think it’s the job of filmmakers to give anybody answers. I do think, though, that a good film makes you ask questions of yourself as you leave the theatre.
  3. The wonderful thing about Clint is you can never second guess how he is going to react to anything.
  4. I wrote an episode for ‘thirtysomething,’ and a producer said, ‘That’s really good, but what is it about? What does it say about you? What questions are you asking yourself?’ I had never thought about that. This comment changed who I was, because it made me look at my own soul, the dark corners in my soul, and accept that dark side.
  5. Irish and Italian are my two favourite people.
  6. I was trying to talk about where we are right now as a society, and talk about the fear we all live in, and certainly since 9–11, how it’s affected us and the world.
  7. I just asked myself, what piece of that man’s soul did he just chew off and swallow to get next week’s assignment? You know, just to live, just to work as an artist, or to feed the family?
  8. There’s nothing more painful than writing.
  9. We’re trying to reinvent Bond. He’s 28 — no Q, no gadgets.
  10. ‘Crash’ came from personal experience. I saw things inside me from living in L.A. that made me uncomfortable. I saw horrible things in people and saw terrible things in myself. I saw a black director completely humiliated, but the three people around me just thought it was funny. ‘No,’ I said, ‘that is selling your soul.’
  11. I have never pretended to be the best Scientologist, but I openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized, as I railed against the kind of intolerance that I believed was directed against it. I had my disagreements, but I dealt with them internally.
  12. Even in a comedy, you have to make people feel. You have to put your hand inside their soul and twist out their heart.
  13. You have to have empathy, knowledge and compassion for your characters if you’re a writer.
  14. For me, the most interesting people are ones who often work against their best interests. Bad choices. They go in directions where you go, ‘No no no nooo!’ You push away someone who is trying to love you, you hurt someone who’s trying to get your trust, or you love someone you shouldn’t.
  15. I don’t think I’m against all wars, but you’d have to have a damn good reason to send your son or daughter to fight, or to go yourself. So often, we are lied to and manipulated by our governments for their own very cynical reasons.
  16. You don’t make a film because the audience is ready for it. You make a film because you have questions that are in your gut.
  17. I’m a deeply broken person, and broken institutions fascinate me.
  18. When I discovered European filmmakers, it affected me so deeply. It redefined what cinema could be. I mean, ‘Blow-Up’ ends with a dead body and mimes playing tennis. What?
  19. I am really drawn to damaged characters, and I have a lot of sympathy for them. Making those complicated characters empathetic is something to strive for. It’s too easy to create a good guy or a good girl.
  20. A lot of films made me love the movies, everything from Hitchcock to Godard. But the ones that really grabbed me were Costa-Gavras’s films like ‘Z’ and ‘State of Siege.’

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